Early Literary Photobooks

Thursday, September 8, 2016 - 9:30am to Friday, December 16, 2016 - 4:00pm

Image of Lady of the Lake

Photo of Scott's tomb at Dryburgh from The Lady of the Lake by Sir Walter Scott

Photographs in old books have a special charm, an intimate quality, whether they are calotypes, gummed onto the page, or rich photogravures, floating on delicate Japan tissue. These vintage techniques speak of craftsmanship and artistic vision, qualities that have survived as technology has mutated.
Today, the photobook is alive and well, a favored medium of photojournalists and photopoets alike, with production values chosen to suit the subject and the readership: they can be luxurious or ephemeral, soft-spoken or as loud as punk rock.
UCLA has a growing number of exquisite modern photobooks at its Arts Library and a rich collection of photoliterary productions at the Charles E. Young Research Library. The books chosen for this exhibit are early literary photobooks, dating from 1860 to the end of the 1930s.
This is the first exhibit to be dedicated to the literary photobook. It is organized by Paul Edwards, who was a visiting associate professor in the UCLA Department of Comparative Literature in 2015-16. Technical assistance was provided by Octavio Olvera, visual arts specialist in UCLA Library Special Collections.